Planetariums Restoration Project
Saving Telescopes and Astronomical Facilities & Instruments Project
Description: Part of the work of the Museum is helping preserve telescopes and other astronomical instruments, and telescope-oriented facilities, such as observatories and planetariums. The Museum is developing a database of telescopes, observatories, planetariums, telescope companies and other telescope operations that are closed, closing, and especially those facilities and instruments that are decaying or in danger of being destroyed or lost. The Museum plans to work with all possible appropriate organizations to create a web portal system and will help develop programs and relationships to help rally people and organizations to preserve and rescue important astronomical instruments and facilities.
Description: The Museum is helping restore a planetarium that has been closed since 2008. The Museum is assisting with the strategic and tactical planning, promoting awareness of this important planetarium project, and the capital campaigns. The project is expected to cost $5-6 million over several years. The Museum plans to showcase this project as part of its dedication to preserve and rescue closed or decaying astronomical instruments and facilities.
The Planetarium previously was a District owned and operated entity, shutting down in 2008 due to budget cuts after a failed bond measure. The District still owns the property, however it has not been in operation since 2008 and is not in a financial position to reopen the facility due to capital expense and unencumbered cost associated with capital costs.
Jeffco Schools Foundation has been approved numerous times to serve as the fiscal agent for a small group of educators interested in reopening the facility. Due to the complex nature between capital needs, operating cost, and working within a school district construct the Foundation declined to serve as fiscal sponsor under this group’s current composition.
The Foundation however agreed to explore serving as the operator of the Planetarium and entity responsible for raising capital and encumbered cost associated with its operation.
As part of this process the Foundation created an ad-hoc committee of its board of directors to explore its feasibility and create a business plan for its ongoing operation. This vision includes numerous additions to its previous operations.
The Foundation intends to reopen a K-12 Planetarium, which likely includes an addition to the physical building as well as extensive landscaping to incorporate outdoor curriculum aligned programming to the facility. In addition, the Planetarium would operate in a way to offer benefit to the community at large with extended hours and programming outside of District aligned K-12 STEM curriculum. Additional components which support operating revenue would also be added to the Planetarium.
Proposed Program Elements:
The Foundation plans to use the opportunity to help assist the District in its Career Workforce Pathways and Readiness efforts in the form of apprenticeship, “seat hours”, etc. helping Jeffco student meet current curriculum requirements while providing an opportunity for hands on learning during all aspects of reopening including fields such as welding, electrical, construction, interior design, landscape design, engineering, business planning, marketing, etc.
The Planetarium presents a unique consumerable product for students to return at each grade level with an on-going source of incoming users. Curriculum will be designs for students as young a Grade K through high school, with additional more complex programming being offered to high school students, such as planetarium computer programming, credentialed research projects, projects with corporate partnerships (e.g. NREL, Lockheed Martin, ULA, NASA, etc.)